School of Medicine
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Associate Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases) and of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests My laboratory studies the strategies pathogens utilize to colonize and subvert the epithelial barrier. We have focused on the epithelial junctions as a target for bacterial pathogens, since the cell-cell junctions serve as both a barrier to infection and also a major control site for epithelial function. In particular, we are interested in how the gastric pathogen Helicobater pylori may cause cancer by interfering with cell signaling at the epithelial junctions. We are also studying how various bacteria cross and invade the epithelium. For example, we recently found that Listeria monocytogenes targets a specialized subset of cell-cell junctions at the tip of the intestinal villi to find its receptor for invasion. We are interested in determining whether this mode of gastrointestinal invasion of the epithelium is also used by other gastrointestinal pathogens.
Ann M. Arvin
Vice Provost and Dean of Research, Lucile Salter Packard Professor of Pediatrics and Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our laboratory investigates the pathogenesis of varicella zoster virus (VZV) infection, focusing on the functional roles of particular viral gene products in pathogenesis and virus-cell interactions in differentiated human cells in humans and in Scid-hu mouse models of VZV cell tropisms in vivo, and the immunobiology of VZV infections.
Helen M. Blau
The Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation Professor and Director, Baxter Laboratory for Stem Cell Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Prof. Helen Blau's research area is regenerative medicine with a focus on stem cells. Her research on nuclear reprogramming and demonstrating the plasticity of cell fate using cell fusion is well known and her laboratory has also pioneered the design of biomaterials to mimic the in vivo microenvironment and direct stem cell fate. Current findings are leading to more efficient iPS generation, cell based therapies by dedifferentiation a la newts, and discovery of novel molecules and therapies.
Professor of Pathology and of Microbiology and Immunology and, by courtesy, of Chemical and Systems Biology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests Our lab uses chemical, biochemical, and cell biological methods to study protease function in human disease. Projects include:
1) Design and synthesis of novel chemical probes for each of the primary protease families.
2) Understanding the role of proteolysis in the life cycle of the human parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and Toxoplasma gondii.
3) Defining the specific functional roles of proteases during the process of tumorogenesis.
4) In vivo imaging of protease activity
Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests We are intereseted in the interaction between the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii and its mammalian host. We use a combination of molecular and genetic tools to understand how this obligate intracellular parasite can invade almost any cell it encounters, how it co-opts a host cell once inside and how it evades the immune response to produce a life-long, persistent infection.
Rachel J. Hagey
Ph.D. Student in Microbiology and Immunology, admitted Autumn 2011
Current Research and Scholarly Interests My primary research focus is in translational molecular virology, with a special interest in uncovering and characterizing RNA structure-function relationships and their role in RNA virus life cycles. Just as many current antibiotics target RNA secondary structures, I envisage a completely new class of antivirals that will similarly target critical RNA secondary structures within viral genomes (such as packaging, translation, or replication signals). To pursue these goals, my research combines molecular virology and genetic tools with emerging high-throughput RNA structure-probing technologies to uncover new classes of conserved viral, non-protein targets for the development of much needed antiviral therapies.